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Monday, March 20, 2023

Ten Ways to Enhance Your Mood

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The World is forever changing with increasing life demands such as increased joblessness, job layoffs, crime, cancer, HIV and AIDS and other illnesses and now the current COVID-19 and its associated variants and restrictions. It is possible to feel overwhelmed, especially when life may not offer as much hope as we had anticipated with the increased technological development. One way to enhance our lives is to improve our mood. This improvement influences our thoughts, emotions, and ultimately, we obtain a positive attitude to life and living for the better.

Moods, emotions and attitudes can be distinguished. Mood and emotions are related in that while mood refers to a temporary state of mind or feeling, emotions are aroused in people by some specific object or situation. Attitude is the more settled way of thinking or feeling about something. In that case, there are several ways in which we can enhance our mood and inject that extra happy energy that enables us to bounce into life.

Here are top tips to enhance your mood:

  1. Connecting with Nature. A major way to enhance your mood is to link with nature. This includes watching the sunrise or set, admiring the moon or sky, looking at the flowers, trees and other plants and animals as well. Learn to marvel at God’s wonderful creation.
  2. Smiling. A smile is a facial expression that expresses joy, pleasure or amusement. Smiling allows the facial muscles to relax and has a pleasurable effect on the mind. This, in turn, improves our mood. Smiling indicates happiness, acceptance and has feelings of optimism. A sad face indicates sadness, dejection or unhappiness and obviously leads to a sour mood. A smile is one of the things we can give ourselves at no cost. It is so valuable and adds value to our lives, our faces and sprinkles our minds.
  3. Spending time with family and loved ones. One of the most cited factors that influence our lives and the quality of our health is a healthy relationship. A major way to improve our happiness is to spend time with family and loved ones. This enhances our sense of belonging and boosts our self-esteem. Family, loved ones, and friends are integral parts of us. In addition, meeting up with people whom you love, such as your spouse, children, family and friends, remits positive energy and re-energises you. They love and cherish you, and you, in turn love them back. This allows you to smile more and relax and hence improve your mood.
  4.  Breathing in and out. Breathing in and out allows fresh air into the lungs. Breathing exercises help you relax. This provides fresh air to the brain and allows for relaxation and an improved mood. In addition, relaxation lowers stress in the body.
  5. Taking a walk. A few minutes of walking every day is very important for the body and mind. This is because it allows the mind to relax, besides stretching the body a little. Even a stroll to the Church or Mosque, a walk to the supermarket or inside the supermarket is very healthy. Notice we did not say you buy anything though you can obviously purchase anything you need while there.
  6. Sleep and sleeping. Sleep is the resting state in which the body is not active, and the mind is unconscious. The body and the brain get tired and overwhelmed. Therefore, the purpose of sleep is for the body and mind to rest; it is for relaxation. Lack of adequate sleep causes disproportionate changes in mood.
  7. Exercises. Exercises are the body’s natural way to relax and enhance your mood. Take time for a walk or to do simple exercises as appropriate.
  8. Prayer and Meditation. One of the major ways we can enhance our emotions and mood is through prayer and meditation. Prayer is our communication with God; that is, it is the act of conversing with God. Meditation is the practice of deeply focusing on our minds. This can be through prayer, reading of scripture or using one of the various techniques such as yoga. Meditation allows for relaxation and self-reflection. This is because much of our emotions arise out of thoughts and meanings that we assign to various experiences in our lives. For example, a person may be convinced that colleagues at work hate him or her based on suggestions they made on their work. Yet, all they wanted was to improve on what you had done. Meditation also allows for more self-awareness. If practised consistently, it helps unfold our lives and rewrite negative thought patterns. This, in turn, contributes to a healthier and happier outlook on life.
  9. Practice gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; it is the readiness to show appreciation to someone for something and to return kindness. Often, our lives are so full of complaints that we hardly focus on anything good in our lives. Recently, and with the challenges of COVID-19, people have been encouraging themselves and others using some very short words, ‘I thank God I was on the list of people who woke up today.’ It is important that we learn to focus our lives on a positive outlook on life and various accomplishments rather than an emptiness that leads to feelings of lack, frustration and disappointment. This is because such negative feelings automatically dampen our mood.

Learn to focus your life on what you can do to improve your situation rather than whining. Take back control of your emotions and hence mood by adopting a positive attitude that intentionally makes you grateful to God and many people of benefit to your life. Ultimately, this enables you to be grateful for many more things, and you adopt a positivity in your life that chases the blues away.

10. Help and assist other people. Human beings are social animals; we are not closed but much more open. There is something you can do for someone out there who needs a helping hand either at home, office, in your neighbourhood or community. Extend your helping hand and avoid being a dead sea that has no outlet; it only receives but never gives out anything. Give out your old and unnecessary things including clothing, shoes, utensils, furniture, mobile phones, computers, books and other things you no longer need. Open up your heart so that you can improve your mood.

Overall, do something for yourself each day. Remember, that mood may be for a long period, whereas emotions only last for the time being. This is the reason why we often lose ourselves in our emotions (anger, love), whereas our mood lasts much longer. For example, taking more time with yourself allows you to re-energise, and this is why you should make time for yourself.

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